What is the difference in Workstation & Gaming Hardware?

So I am getting a new office PC. I am a structural engineer and I look at a lot of 3-D bulding models during the BIM process using Revit, AutoCAD, & Navis Works as well as processor heavy structural analysis programs.

My IT guy wants me to get a Dell system, that is fine with me; but when I price out what I want it is nearly $5,000. I just do not understand why.

I priced what looks like equal systems on paper: one is an Alienware Area-51 and the other a Dell Precision T7500. The later is over 2x as much.

What is different from between a Quad Core i7 and Quad Core Xeon? Why is the Xeon over 1k more?

Why does a 1GB NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 cost so much more then a 1.5GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX480?

What makes this workstation hardware so much more expensive?
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More about what difference workstation gaming hardware
  1. The Xeon is the exact same as the i7 but it is capable of supporting up to 4 CPUs working together on a single motherboard. The i7 cannot do this. Otherwise they are the same, clock per clock, core per core.

    As for the Quadro vs Geforce, I am not sure but I do believe the Quadro will work better with workstation applications due to driver optimizations. I believe other than the driver, they are very similar to their equivalent "gaming" card. I think the FX 3800 is based on older tech than the GTX480 though.
  2. Another thing to note on desktop vs server processors, the Xeon/Opteron processors tend to be more power efficient and go with the more cores at a lower clock speed. I'm not sure how many cores Intel has in the Xeon line right now, but AMD has 12 core server parts clocked at I think a max of 2.2Ghz while their desktop is a 6 core at 3.2Ghz.

    Since your talking about I7/Xeon, they're currently the same architecture and if they've got the same core count and clock speed they'll perform the same. Key difference is the Xeons can have multiple processors on one board while the I7 cannot.
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